A sign is something other people, like a doctor, notice while a symptom is something that the patient describes. Example is the case of dilated pupils being a sign while constant sleepiness is a symptom.
Substance dependence is when someone is addicted to a something like drugs or alcohol and they are not able to control their use of the substance. He/she continues to use it, despite the fact that it may be harmful (the person may or may not be aware of the possible risk).
Drug addiction makes the body have a strong desire for the substance. It's possible that the addict wants to stop taking the substance but finds it really hard to do so on his or her own.
The symptoms and signs of drug addiction differ according to the person, the drug they are dependent to, their genetics (family history) and personal situations.
Signs and symptoms of substance enslavement may include:
It becomes difficult for the person to desist from using the substance - like drug, alcohol or nicotine, even when the person has attempted to stop at least on one occasion.
Withdrawal side effects - when body levels of that substance go beneath a specific level the patient has physical and disposition related manifestations. Cases of resentment, bitterness, anger, frustration, depression, decreased focus, bad temper, emptiness, moodiness and cravings arise.
The person may also develop a voracious appetite. Withdrawal also comes with insomnia. Constant vomiting and constipation may also occur in some situations. With certain drugs, withdrawal can set off seizures, perspiration, hallucinations, violence and tremors.
Even with the knowledge that health problems exist, addiction continues - The person keeps taking the substance on a regular basis, even though negative health problems are becoming apparent. An example is a smoker who doesn't stop smoking even after lung or heart problems begin.
Social sacrifices happen as activities are given up because of the addiction. Example is a smoker turning down a meeting with friends in an environment that is smoke free or an alcohol addict refusing to attend a profitable social gathering that does not involve alcohol.
Maintaining a good supply - even when there is no money, addicts will always ensure that they have enough quantity of the substance they are addicted to. They may ensure that this substance is made available by dipping into the budget of the entire home.
Dangers of Addiction (1) - An addict may go to any lengths including risking their lives by stealing or prostituting to get money or drugs.
Dangers of Addiction (2) - When the addict is on the drug, they may take bold actions like over speeding.
Coping with issues - an addict often feels he/she requires his/her substance to cope with his/her issues.
Obsession - figuring out the best way to access their substance and how to use it may occupy a greater part of their time and energy
Introversion and isolation - The addict may become secretive and want to isolate themselves from people.
Denial - majority of the present day addicts do not accept that they have a problem. Either they do not realise or outright deny they have a problem.
Excessive use - with certain addictions, like alcohol, a few substances and even nicotine, the person uses it excessively. The effects can be physical symptoms, like a bad lasting cough (in the case of heavy smokers) and a sore throat, or blackouts (fail to remember moments).
Giving up activities and pastimes - as the dependency advances, the person might no longer do things he/she really liked. Some smokers who will discover that it is no longer easy for them to cope with the physical demands of their favourite sports may also resort to this.
Stashing the substance - an addict might hide small stocks of the substance in unlikely places, like around the house or in the car.
Taking a large initial dose - this is usually a problem with alcohol addiction. The person my down drinks in an attempt to become intoxicated and then feel great.
Legal problems - problems with the law occur more with drug and alcohol addictions. It may be because the individual cannot judge right, thus do things they normally won't do, or deliberately do something unlawful to obtain the substance.
Financial difficulties - the addicts will be willing to pay whatever it costs to access the substance if the substance is expensive. In the case of cigarettes, it will cost a 40-a-day smoker up to '660 per month and about '8,000 per year in the UK and other parts of Europe and the UK where a packet of twenty sticks is sold at about '11.
Strained relationships - such are seen more in cases where drugs or alcohol are the substance in use.
Those who are addicted to alcohol and drugs on a technical manner may be exposed to the aforementioned dangers, but the severe urge to consume drugs and the withdrawal symptoms witnessed by an addict may not be present.